Hotelier Vikram Chatwal secured a “no-jail” plea deal in a New York court for attempting to set fire to two dogs near his Soho apartment. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation which means that if he adheres for a year to the penalty imposed by the court, the charge of “aggravated animal cruelty” will be dropped.
According to news reports April 18, prosecutors took into account Chatwal’s lack of criminal history and the minimal injury caused to the dogs, into account in giving Chatwal a five day community service sentence. The judge also took into account the fact that Chatwal is undergoing mental-health treatment and included in his sentence that he continue the treatment and submit to random drug testing and keep living with his parents. Additionally, his name will be on an animal abuse registry and he cannot own or care for pets for five years.
When Judge Gerianne Abriano asked the 44-year-old hotelier whether he “attempted to cause serious physical injury to two dogs using an aerosol can and lighter to set fire to them?” Chatwal replied “Yes, your Honor,” the New York Post reported.
“Given the defendant’s mental health history and lack of criminal history and minimal injury to the dogs, we are offering” a no-jail deal, Assistant District Attorney Tanisha Palvia is quoted saying in the Post.
The incident that got him into trouble took place Oct. 9, 2016, when Chatwal ran down Wooster Street screaming “The dogs must die” as he tried to light the dogs who were on a walk, on fire with an aerosol can and lighter.
“We’re pleased that the DA’s office realized all of the mitigating factors and is offering this disposition,” Arthur Aidala, Chatwal’s attorney is quoted saying in the New York Daily News. “Vikram just needs to hit the reset button on life,” Aidala told reporters outside the courtroom, the Post reported. “This was a horrible 30 seconds of his life that we are going to put behind us,” Aidala said referring to the video of Chatwal during the incident.
Chatwal is not barred from continuing to manage his company. He has established several reputed hotels during his career.